The Space of Slovenian Literary Culture: Literary History and the GIS-Based Spatial Analysis

Basic Info


The Space of Slovenian Literary Culture: Literary History and the GIS-Based Spatial Analysis” is the first in Slovenia to connect literary studies and geography in a systematic interdisciplinary research project. Using the Geographic Information System (GIS), it traces the development of mutual influences between the ethnically Slovenian geographic space and Slovenian literature. The project covers the period 1780–1940, from the beginnings of belles-lettres in Slovenian to WW II, when Slovenian literary culture attained full institutional and media development, and stylistic, genre, and ideological differentiation. The ethnically Slovenian territory was multilingual and multicultural; it belonged to different state entities with divergent capitals, which was reflected in the spatial dynamic of the literary culture. The project starts from the assumption that the socio-geographical space did not exclusively determine the development of literature and its media, but that it influenced it. On the other hand, literature itself, through its discourse, practices, and institutions, had a reverse influence on the apprehension and structuring of that space, as well as on its connection with the broader region, Europe, and the world.

In view of this, the project sets three main goals:

– By making use of GIS, to map and spatially analyze statistically relevant data of literary history: biographical paths, areas/places of residence, and careers of writers, as well as those of other actors in literary culture; locations of media and institutions that establish the infrastructure of literary field; and spaces represented in historical novels.

– To form a clear picture of the history of Slovenian literary culture’s distribution over territory on the basis of GIS-developed thematic maps, graphs, and tables of quantitative data, taking into account natural environment, political regulation, as well as factors of the economic, traffic, and demographic development; to determine how the ethnic space with its “internal” peripheries and (urban) centers and changing “external” geopolitical boundaries acted upon the development of literary field’s distribution.

– To offer interdisciplinary literary historical, cultural, and geographic interpretations of the resulting data in a collection of synthetic studies.

The fundamental hypothesis is that literary discourse in Slovenian was able to manifest itself in public dominantly through the history of two spatial factors:

– the formation, territorial expansion, and concentration of the social network of literary actors and media in ethnically Slovenian lands;

– the persistent references of literary texts to places that were recognized by addressees as Slovenian, thereby creating and giving meaning to the idea of an ethnically coherent space; these spatial references in public media were involved in grounding a national ideology.

The project also has additional, parallel goals:

– to assess the theoretical bases of literary geography or spatial literary studies; to identify the key problems and perspectives of interdisciplinary ties between the humanities and more scientistic social sciences; to study the possibilities of the further use of GIS in the humanities in Slovenia;

– to survey case studies of mutual influences between geographic space and imagination: how literary texts have represented the Slovenian space and its natural and political boundaries, how they modeled it cognitively and ethically, what meaning (especially national) they attributed to it, and how the texts thereby influenced readers’ experiences of territory and their ethnic or regional identities;

– to make a “Literary Atlas of Ljubljana,” the first portable publication of its kind in Slovenia;

– by making GIS maps public, to enable the use of project findings for the furtherance of Slovenian literary geography and spatial literary studies, as well to policymakers for the preservation of cultural heritage, to schools, the tourism industry, and local governments for the planning of space use.


Dolgan, Marjan (w. Jerneja Fridl and Manca Volk Bahun). Literarni atlas Ljubljane. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC, 2014.

Perenič, Urška. An Overview of Literary Mapping Projects on Cities. Neohelicon 41.1 (2014): 13–25.

Perenič, Urška. Kartiranje biografij slovenskih književnikov: od začetkov do sodobne prostorske analize v GIS. Primerjalna književnost 36.2 (2013): 163–83, 298–302.

Urbanc, Mimi. Pokrajina v luči retoričnih figur v besedilih o slovenski Istri. Primerjalna književnost 36.2 (2013): 205–23.

Škulj, Jola. Landscapes of Duino (Rilke) and Karst (Kosovel): Modernist Dialogue or Cosmopolitanism at the Edges. In: Paysages en dialogue. Ed. Judit Maár and Traian Sandu. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2012. 153–64.

Urbanc, Mimi, and Marko Juvan. At the Juncture of Literature and Geography: Literature as a Subject of Geographic Inquiry in the Case of Slovene Istria. Slavistična revija 60.3 (2012): 317–38.


Project type
fundamental research project

spatial analysis
literary atlas
literary geography
literary history
literary culture